Friday, November 14, 2008

5th Michigan - Gettysburg

The 5th Michigan Infantry monument stands among the jumble of rocks - and many other markers - on the Union line at the Stony Hill at Gettysburg. The 5th Michigan was one of the first Union regiments to take residence in the Wheatfield area on the second day of fighting. (Click image for larger view).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Maine at the wall - Gettysburg

The monument to the 17th Maine Infantry rests behind the stone wall in the Wheatfield among a swirl of fall color at Gettysburg. The marker depicts a soldier crouching behind the stone wall, alert and ready. The 17th was among a handful of regiments holding the wall bordering the Wheatfield against Confederate attacks that eventually took the field, but not without a sharp fight. One officer in the Maine regiment reported: "Never was loading and firing of muzzle-loaders done more rapidly than by the 17th at the time." (Click image for larger view).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A restored warrior - Gettysburg

The 74th Pa. monument on the first day's battlefield is in line with other markers for Union regiments on the 11th Corps position outside Gettysburg. Like the fallen color bearer it depicts, the monument was itself struck down - victim of an errant driver that left it in pieces in 2004. Careful restoration has returned it to its spot on the line, but not without scars. (Click image for larger view).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

'Cross I must' - Gettysburg

The monument to the 118th Pennsylvania, the Corn Exchange Regiment, looks over the Rose Farm and its grazing cattle from the Stony Hill at Gettysburg. Cattle were not an uncommon sight among the livestock and farm fields, but Union artillery chief Henry Hunt was nearly a casualty of one panicked cluster after he inspected a battery position at Devil's Den as fighting began on the second day, he reported:

"A herd of horned cattle had been driven into the valley between Devil's Den and Round Top, from which they could not escape. A shell had exploded in the body of one of them, tearing it to pieces; others were torn and wounded. All were stampeded, bellowing and rushing in their terror first to one side, then to the other, to escape the shells that were bursting over and amongst them. Cross I must, and in doing so I had my most trying experience of the battle of Gettysburg. Luckily the poor beasts were as much frightened as I was, but their rage was subdued by terror, and they were good enough to let me pass through scot-free, but 'badly demoralized.' However, my horse was safe, I mounted, and in the busy excitement that followed almost forgot my scare." (Click image for larger view).

Monday, November 10, 2008

'Clear the Way!' - Gettysburg

"Faugh A Ballaugh" - anglicized Gaelic for "Clear the Way" is inscribed on the 28th Massachusetts Infantry monument on the Stony Hill, scene of fighting on the second day at Gettysburg. As part of the Irish Brigade, the 28th swept through the Wheatfield before taking position on the low hill at the Loop. It wasn't a long stay: Confederate attacks regained the sector, finally taking control of the Wheatfield for good after it changed hands several times, with the Irish taking just one part in a confused battle there. (Click image for larger view).